Paul Boateng, chief secretary to the Treasury, has confirmed that the government supports plans to establish a taskforce to address the complaints about retentions.
In a letter to Claire Curtis-Thomas MP, who has been lobbying the government on the issue, Boateng said that he was well aware of the difficulties caused by late or withheld payments.

He said that the taskforce ought to identify and recommend good practices. He said that the job of the taskforce ought to "include consideration of how this can facilitate the move away from the use of retentions, as part of the improvement agenda".

Trevor Hursthouse, group chairman of trade body the Specialist Engineering Contractors, said: "This is a promising development. We look forward to meeting the government to agree the scope and methodology for the taskforce. It is a significant step forward."